This post has been the most popular one on my blog for the last two years so grab a cuppa and enjoy reading about some of the best festivals of 2020.This is the perfect guide for those who might be thinking of coming to Ireland and timing it with one of these.
Firstly a special mention for Galway who are the European Capital of Culture, 2020. They have some amazing events taking place throughout the year and you can find out more here.
First Fortnight. Ireland’s Mental Health Arts Festival. Taking place countrywide and a really fantastic idea. Taking place from the 2nd to the 19th of January.
3rd – 26th January. Out to Lunch Arts Festival, Belfast. Music, talks, comedy, lunchtime and evening events.
8th – 12th January Dublin Bowie Festival. Ground control to Major Tom, head to Dublin to celebrate all things Bowie.
17th – 19th January Akumakon, Galway. Anime, cosplay and gaming convention including special guests.
22nd – 26th January. TradFest in Dublin. Ireland’s largest traditional music festival taking place in some of the most historic locations in Dublin.
23rd – 26th January. Winter Music Festival, Ballincollig, Cork. Featuring Cathy Davey, Andy Irvine and more.
25th January. Dublin Smartphone Film Festival. Film Festival dedicated to films shot on Smartphones and Tablets.
24th January – 10th February. Celebrate the Chinese New Year Festival in Dublin. There are talks, tours, celebrations and more in this fabulous festival celebrating the Year of the Rat.
7th – 9th February Sligo Walking Festival takes place with NorthWest Adventure Tours. Night walks, day walks, spectacular scenery and more.
12th – 16th February. It’s the Bray Comedy Festival featuring Jason Byrne, Andrew Maxwell and more.
28th Feb – March 8th The Dublin International Film Festival. Awards, talks, workshops and of course films.
6th – 8th March. Ennis Book Club Festival. Celebrating book clubs and readers in Ireland’s only book club festival.
13th – 17th March. St. Patrick’s Festival Dublin. There will also be many St. Patrick Parade’s and celebrations taking place throughout the island of Ireland on March 17th.
Mountains to Sea dlr Book Festival Dun Laoghaire Rathdown 18th – 24th March. Celebrating writers who hail or reside in the ‘dlr’ region; J.M Synge, James Joyce and Samuel Beckett grew up there, Hugh Leonard and Maeve Binchy lived there all their lives and contemporary writers who still reside in the area include Joseph O’Connor, Hugo Hamilton, Marian Keyes and Ross O’Carroll Kelly.
20th-22nd March West Cork Stone Symposium. Come to the symposium to be inspired by a rugged coastline that’s home to one of Ireland’s most creative communities.
6th – 19th April MusicTown, Dublin. An eclectic 2-week musical celebration.
11th – 12th April The Holey Soles Hill Walking Festival. Leitrim/Sligo
29th April – 3rd May 2020 Cork International Choral Festival. Celebrating 66 years this year.
Bealtaine Festival. A countrywide festival running for the whole of May celebrating the arts and creativity as we age.
Dates to be confirmed Roscommon Lamb Festival.Sheep sales, lamb blessings (yes, really), music, street parties, something for all the family. Ewed be maaad to miss it.
19th – 31st May Dublin Dance Festival. Enabling audiences to discover inspirational artists lies at the heart of the Dublin Dance Festival mission.
1st May – 3rd May – Father Ted Festival in Lisdoonvarna, Co. Clare. Down with that kind of thing 😉 If you are a lovely girl or a wannabe nun this is the festival for you. You even get tea and cakes in Father Ted’s house! Gwan, gwan, gwan.
15th – 17th May Midleton Arts Festival. The festival is a celebration of our community and its relationship with art. With so many talented artists in the area and wonderful art teachers in the schools, creativity is bubbling in East Cork throughout the year. MAF creates an opportunity to showcase, share and express this ongoing creativity during the mid May arts festival.
Date to be confirmed May Rockin Road Festival, Drumcondra. A fun filled family day of music, Vintage scooters,bikes and cars with lots to occupy the young too. Join in this annual fundraiser for children and students who use the services of Childvision.
27th May – 31st May Listowel Writers’ Week in Co. Kerry. Ireland’s oldest literary festival.
28th May – 31st May Rory Gallagher Festival, Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal. Live music festival to pay tribute to the wonderful Rory Gallagher.
28th May – 1st June. Bloom in the Phoenix Park, Dublin. Show gardens, music, the best of Irish food, demos and more.
28th May – 1stJune. Kilkenny Cat Laughs. Celebrating 25 years of laughs in Kilkenny.
29th May – 31st May. Vantastival Festival, Louth. For fans and enthusiasts of the camper van and camping lifestyle. Enjoy the magic of this family friendly festival.
30th – 31st May. Forbidden Fruit, Dublin. Fantastic bands in the stunning location of the Royal Hospital, Kilmainham.
5th – 7th June. Westport Folk and Bluegrass Festival. Music and more throughout the pretty town of Westport, Co. Mayo.
12th – 14th June. Woollin – Dublin’s festival of yarn! If you like to spin a yarn this is the festival for you. Craft classes, talks and more.
12th – 14th June. Féile na Gealaí a celebration of everything Irish. Ráth Chairn, Co. Meath
19th – 21st June Body & Soul in Co. Westmeath. Enter another world in this Summer Solstice Experience. With new ideas, experiences and performances around every corner.
19th – 21st June. Sea Sessions, Co. Donegal. Turning Bundoran into Fundoran with this Surf Music Festival. Acts so far include Sigrid, Gavin James and versatile.
7th – 28th June Belsonic, Belfast. Featuring Lionel Richie, Picture This, Iron Maiden and more.
Muckno Mania, Castleblayney. A lovely family festival of fairytales. Taking place in July, dates to be confirmed.
Longford Summer Festival. Four day, family event with live music, an artisan market and more. Dates to be confirmed.
10th – 12th July. Forever Young Festival, Naas. Go back to the 80s with some amazing acts including Marti Pellow, Nik Kershaw, The Boomtown Rats and more.
Cairde Sligo Arts Festival. Sligo July July 4th-12th 2020. This is your invitation to imagination. A week long event with lots of music, arts and fun, do check out ParkFest – a great, free, event for all the family.
10th – 28th July Earagail Arts Festival in Donegal. Theatre, carnivals, visual arts and more taking place all over Co. Donegal.
Black Pig Festival, Enniscrone, Co. Sligo. A festival celebrating a black pig who was possessed and ate everyone in her path! There are no man eating pigs at this festival (hopefully!) but there is a funfair, fireworks, soapbox derby and more. July – dates to be confirmed.
July – dates to be announced Knockanstockan Festival, Blessington, Co. Wicklow. Music & Arts Festival bringing performers together to celebrate, showcase and share their talent with like-minded people.
Sligo Jazz Festival. 21st -26th July. An international summer school and jazz festival taking place in Sligo.
Durrow Scarecrow Festival, Co. Laois. Dates to be confirmed. Is your scarecrow the most talked about thing in the village? If so take it along to the All-Ireland Scarecrow Festival and you might be the best in Ireland.
Mary from Dungloe Festival. July 25th to August 3rd 2020. Do you fancy being a Mary? This international festival is open to all – you don’t have to be a Mary. You get to meet Daniel O’Donnell too 🙂
30th July – 9th August Feile an Phobail (Festival of the People). West Belfast and beyond. Music, Comedy, Talks, Tours, Theatre, Debate, Family, Community and more. Dates to be confirmed.
July 31st – 3rd August. All Together Now, Co. Waterford. Iggy Pop makes his first appearance in Ireland for 12 years at this festival.
31st July – 2nd August Indiependence Festival, Co. Cork. Sigrid headlines.
August Spraoi, Waterford. A fantastic street arts festival. Parades, music and more. Dates to be confirmed
Siamsa Sraide Swinford, Co. Mayo possibly the longest running festival in Ireland. On the August bank holiday weekend every year.
14th – 16th August. Wildroots, Sligo. Nestled beneath the shadow of our Benbulben brother, arm and arm with our Neolithic ancestors and under the watchful eye of Queen Meadbh, you’ll find Wild Roots, Ireland’s first music, performing arts and adventure festival.
22nd – 27th August Feakle Festival. Workshops, concerts, sessions and more.
6th – 9th August. Sligo Summer Festival. Sligo comes alive with music with the gig rig in the centre of town. Acts to be confirmed.
August The Old Fair Day Festival, Tubbercurry, Co. Sligo. A step back in time with this festival, see Ireland used to be in the fair days of the past. Family friendly event and most of it is free. Dates to be confirmed.
2nd – 9th August Fleadh Cheoil 2020 Mullingar The biggest celebration of Irish music, dance and song in the World. You can’t help but be swept away by the atmosphere.
13th – 16th August. Still Voices Short Film Festival, Ballymahon, Co. Longford.
13th – 16th August. The Big Grill Festival, Dublin. An international BBQ festival and competition.
August. Belmullet Gala Festival, Co. Mayo. Busking, crafts, heritage, music and more. Dates to be confirmed.
14th – 16th August. Another Love Story, Killyon Manor. Back for the seventh edition of its summer celebration of music, art, discussion, food, fun & frolics
The Rose of Tralee 21st – 25th August, in Tralee (of course). Lovely girls from all over the world with Irish connections take part in this competition.
15th – 23rd August. National Heritage Week. A week long celebration of our Irish heritage. Lots of free family events taking place all over the island of Ireland.
August Medieval Festival, Loughrea. Archery, food from the past, circus skills and more in this celebration of the past. Dates to be confirmed.
Electric Picnic in Strabally, Co. Laois. 4th -6th September. One of the biggest festivals in Ireland. Music, comedy, food, fun. I’ve never been but from the photos I’ve seen it looks amazing!
4th – 30th September Matchmaking Festival, Lisdoonvarna. Running throughout September. If you haven’t found Mr or Mrs Right yet head to Lisdoonvarna!
Irish Bog Snorkelling Championships, Co. Monaghan. This sounds epic! (Dates to be confirmed).
Pigtown, Limerick. Culture and Food Festival celebrating all things Limerick. I quite like the sound of the pig-nic! (Dates to be confirmed).
4th – 13th September A Taste of West Cork. Food demos, talks, walks and celebrating the best of food in West Cork.
Clonakilty International Guitar Festival 14th – 20th September. “The Clonakilty International Guitar Festival is a celebration of the guitar. It is not starch collared or stuffy nosed, from virtuosos to noodlers, all are welcomed and exalted!”
25th – 27th September Write By the Sea FestivalKilmore Quay. Interviews with well-known, national and international writers and experts, experiential workshops, readings and talks. Save the dates in your diary now and come and enjoy drama, crime writing, short stories, storytelling, poetry, memoir writing, writing graphic novels and much, much more.
Baboro International Arts Festival for Children, Galway 12th – 18th October. Baboró believe that every child should have access to excellent arts and cultural experiences both as audience and participants.
Cork Jazz Festival. 22nd – 26th October. A feast of jazz in Ireland’s longest running jazz festival.
Sligo Live. 22nd – 31st October. Turning Sligo into Music City. Previous acts have included BellX1, Imelda May, Sheryl Crowe and more.
Derry Halloween. October Bank holiday weekend. A fantastic weekend in the walled city of Derry. Prepare to be amazed.
October 31st – November 2nd Puca Festival , Drogheda, Trim, Athboy. A spectacular festival of music and light complemented by rich harvest-inspired food experiences, and will celebrate a time when light turns to dark, the veil between realities draws thin, rules can be broken, and the spirits move between worlds.
Science Week, a countrywide festival celebrating science with talks, workshops, demos and more. Dates to be confirmed
Other Voices (December – dates to be confirmed). Musicians from all over the world bring Dingle to life in a number of different venues. One for the music lovers.
Waterford Winterval. An annual celebration of Christmas taking place in November/ December.
Thanks for reading the longest blog post I’ve ever written! Well the longest in researching it anyway. It’s actually amazed me how much is going on in our little island of Ireland and given me some ideas too! Well done to all the festival organisers on what sounds like some brilliant events.